Self-Sovereignty is a Mirage

“Run away from the seductive delusion of self-sovereignty.” (Paul Tripp)

The autonomy of self rules the day. From “my body, my choice” to expressive individualism in all forms and fashions, it’s safe to say society is concerned with one thing and one thing only: itself.

People want to be sovereign, they desire to be fully and completely free. Free from restrictions, from rules, from boundaries. And we see this in full effect today with the moral and sexual revolution along with the gender identity agenda. For many, you either let them be who they want to be, or you’re a bigot.

The sovereignty of self, however, is a delusion. It’s a mirage. It’s not real. It’s a figment of the imagination. Though we seek autonomy, crave true freedom of self, and desire no boundaries, it’s simply not reality. Even though it is seductive, we must flee from it.

Why must we run away from it? Isn’t it good for us to want to be free, to be autonomous, to be who we want to be without restrictions? Short answer, no, and that’s because it would only lead to destruction—destruction of family, of society, of order, of self. (Which, we may now see, this is happening before our very eyes.)

We should want to be who God made us to be, which is, truly, in relationship with him. Though the Bible says we are “slaves to righteousness” (Rom. 6:18), we are most free as his slaves. We must proclaim to the world that, as slaves of God in Christ, we are most truly free. Nothing is more freeing to the human mind, heart, and will than to be a servant, or slave, of Christ.

That’s the power of the gospel—it changes everything. As blood-bought children of the one true God, we have true freedom in him. Though this message is foreign to the unbelieving world since their eyes are blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4), God calls us to proclaim this freedom regardless because he’s the one who saves, not us.

So, let us run away from the delusion that we belong to ourselves, that we are autonomous beings, that we are totally free. We never have been and never will be. Unbelievers are slaves—slaves to their sin (Rom. 6:20). But they don’t know that. They think they have freedom. But it’s a delusion, it’s a mirage. It may appear that they can do as they please—which they certainly are doing—but they are enslaved to sin. That’s all they can do. They cannot please God. The Bible’s proclamation of unbelievers’ slavery to sin flies in the face of their self-proclaimed autonomy.

In light of this, we must proclaim the good news that, if they turn to Christ, they can be truly free.


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